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Just a couple of thoughts on random stuff I've seen and heard the past few days, but first this:
Iowa State was a combined 36-5 after Saturday. That's 16-1 for Bill Fennelly's women's basketball team, 14-3 for T.J. Otzelberger's men's team, and 6-1 for Kevin Dresser's wrestlers.
I can't imagine those three sports ever having a glossy record like that.
* * *
Another round of “Where’s he going?” looks to be over.
Matt Campbell is still Iowa State’s football coach. Jon Heacock is still the program’s defensive coordinator. All-American Will McDonald is still the team’s top defensive end, Xavier Hutchinson the top receiver and Anthony Johnson the best cornerback on campus.
Together, they’ll start spring practice soon. Together, they’ll figure out why last season was just 7-6. Together, they’ll be part of Cyclones Football 2022.
The most recent red flag for Iowa State fans was the “sourced” internet report that Heacock was new Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman’s top choice to replace him as the defensive coordinator.
Freeman calling Heacock sounds plausible. They have a relationship that goes back to when both were Kent State assistant coaches in 2011 and 2012. They stayed in contact. Freeman suggesting they reunite sounds possible, too, considering Heacock is among the nation’s best.
It's likely they talked. Whether an offer was extended, I don't know.
Dot-connecting can be dangerous. Sometimes they connect into a neat picture. Sometimes they don’t.
All I know is that Heacock is still Iowa State’s defensive coordinator. I also know that Heacock and offensive coordinator Tom Manning will hit the $1 million-a-year salary mark if they’re still on staff July 1, 2023. It’s in his contract. It’s in Manning’s contract, too.
On July 1, 2022, contracts say their base salaries are $950,000. On July 1, 2023, their base salaries jump to $1 million.
When announcing Campbell’s new contract in February 2021, the school said it would phase in an additional $3 million over the next three years “for staff salary enhancements.” That presumably can include additional money for on-field staffers and support staff.
“Coach Campbell has always put investments in his student-athletes and football staff before his own personal gains,” Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard said in a statement released by the school when announcing Campbell’s 2021 contract. “That is the essence of servant leadership and is what makes Coach Campbell so successful.”
* * *
I agree with Nick Saban. I agree with Kirby Smart, too.
We favor college athletes finally having the opportunity to make some bucks off their fame. If they want to promote for a major local grocery store chain, go for it. If they want to do promotions for car dealers, that’s super.
If someone’s being offered $1 million to transfer from one school to another in this transfer portal world of immediate eligibility, then that’s wrong.
That red flag went up recently when former Detroit Lions quarterback Charlie Batch wrote that an investment firm with whom he works would pay former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams $1 million to play at Eastern Michigan, whose football program is led by former Drake coach Chris Creighton.
We’ve seen other offers:
A Miami businessman offered $500 a month to the Hurricanes’ football players to advertise for a chain of mixed martial arts facilities.
An Austin, Texas, company has promised Longhorns scholarship offensive linemen $50,000.
Those very public offers were meant for future college football stars who spend considerable time on social media. Word can spread about a lot of things, including NIL opportunities.
Schools with fans financially able and willing to switch financial “gifts” from endowment and helping build new facilities to the athletes will become more prevalent.
"I think what is a little concerning is how it is used to get players to decide where they go to school, because I don't think that was the intention," Saban told reporters on the eve of the College Football Playoff championship game. "I don't think that would be the NCAA's intention.
“I think we probably need some kind of national legislation to sort of control that to some degree, because I think there will be an imbalance relative to who can dominate college football if that's not regulated in some form or fashion."
Saban is all for athletes making money.
So is Georgia’s Smart, but to a point.
"You're going to have the haves and have nots, and the separation that is already there is going to grow larger," Smart during the press conference. "The schools that have the capacity and the ability and are more competitive in the NIL market are going to be schools that step ahead on top of other schools.
“I don't want (recruiting) decisions to be based on that, but ultimately a lot of young men want to make their decision based on that."
So far, it hasn't been a recruiting issue for new Iowa State men's basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger.
“We haven’t had it come up," Otzelberger said, "but if it does, we’ll try to be real specific, that the reason they want to be at Iowa State is to play at Hilton Coliseum, they want to be part of something bigger than themselves, and have this opportunity with a great fan base.”
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson embarked on his 50th year of writing sports for the Des Moines Register in December 2021. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Are Iowa State football coaches in their places? We can only hope